One of my good friends and fellow chiropractors, Dr. Amy Gillespie-Robinson, has written many a time about how one of her joys is being able to provide good meals for her family. I feel the same way. There is something about creating an amazing meal to bring a family together that makes me feel like a good mom. Also, knowing what goes into those meals (from scratch) is a good feeling. I feel that for IWFDW, I have to put on a good show (I can’t very well put up some mangy looking food on my blog!) but this week I’ve been feeling very inspired in my kitchen. The inspiration has overfloweth and I have been creating some really tasty dinners for my family to enjoy PLUS lots of leftovers to choose from throughout the rest of the week. Family is happy because they are full and I’m happy because they are happy. This may backfire on me when my inspiration runs dry but in the meantime, we’re all sopping it up. It all started on Sunday night….
I had been frustrated over an injury that has kept me from working out (to any extent) for two weeks. While it was healing, I knew that it would need another good week of rest before I could jump back in at the gym. Other than going for walks around my neighbourhood, I had not been able to be that active. So, I was being extra careful with what I was eating as I didn’t my “no workout depression” to sideline my eating habits at all.
Sunday night we came home from an amazing weekend with friends down in Toronto. I had been starstruck over meeting Fred Penner at Young People’ s Theatre in Toronto. I know, I know…FRED PENNER! The well-loved Canadian children’s performer that any kid from the Great White North grew up on. Chime in when you’re ready: “The cat came back the very next day, the cat came back…they thought he was a goner, but the cat came back, he just couldn’t stay away!” I’m such a fan, I wanted my picture taken with him and I haven’t washed Maggie since.
The Amazing Fred Penner with the equally Amazing Ryan Family (minus Tom who took the picture…xo)
Anyhow, the weekend put things in perspective for me. I had a great time with my family and my attitude prior to the weekend had been pretty pathetic. Basically it was a slap across the face to say “get out of your funk, you whiner!”. Just because I can’t be as active as I want to be doesn’t mean I can’t throw the energy I have for working out into other areas of my life.
So Monday morning I hit the grocery store. I stocked up on foods to create some exceptional meals this week. New foods, fun foods, interesting foods….just stepping enough out of my comfort zone as a cook to make things exciting. Here’s what I came up with:
Mini Morning Glory Muffins
These have been delicious and a perfect addition to both breakfast and lunch. They are nut-free so perfect to send to school! Got them from www.paleomg.com!
HM Chicken & Veggie Soup with little carrot hearts. 🙂
This was my own inspiration and really nothing that took a lot of thought. I simmered a whole chicken for about 45 minutes and then while letting the chicken cool on a rack, I added in some veggies (carrots, peas, onions) and spices (bay leaves, oregano, basil, parsley, s&p). Cut up the chicken and Bob’s your uncle.
Turkey & Beef meatballs with Zucchini in a Marinara Sauce
Really, again…not so difficult. Mashed together beef & turkey (about 2 lbs in total) and then added in onion, garlic, s&p, basil, oregano, egg whites (3), and some almond flour (in lieu of bread crumbs). Moulded them into balls and threw them into a HM marinara sauce made of diced tomatoes, tomato paste, s&p, garlic, onions, oregano & parsley. Saute them for about 30 minutes and dinner is served!
So we have been enjoying these creations all week. And then Wednesday came along and I’m trying very hard to keep up with the good meals I’ve been creating so I put together a version of Butter Chicken. Actually, I can’t lie…the “butter” part was previously made a couple of weeks ago and I threw it in with some chicken tonight. I got the basic recipe from Everyday Paleo but played with it a bit as I don’t know what fenugreek powder is, didn’t have time to make ghee, and we love garlic so I upped it a bit (check out their site if you want their specific recipe)
4 chicken breasts
1 red onion diced
3 tbsp coconut oil
6 oz can tomato paste
½ can coconut milk
1 tbsp crushed garlic
½ tsp cardamom powder
½ tsp coriander powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp sea salt
4 tbsp butter
Butterfly the chicken breasts. In a large skillet or soup pot, heat the coconut oil over medium heat and add the diced onion and saute until translucent. Turn your heat down to low and to the onion and oil mixture, add the crushed garlic, cardamom, coriander, paprika, and chili powder and stir well to make a paste. Add the tomato paste to the onions and spices and stir, this mixture will be very thick. Turn your heat back up to medium and add the coconut milk and salt. Use a whisk to blend the tomato paste spice mixture and coconut milk together into a thick sauce. Bring the sauce to a simmer and add the chicken. Return the sauce and chicken to a simmer, turn down to medium low, cover and cook for approximately 15 minutes or until the chicken is done all the way through – make sure you stir occasionally during the cooking process. After the chicken is cooked, add the butter and mix into the sauce until melted.
We served ours with a side salad of spinach, peas, red onion, feta, and a homemade vinaigrette of olive oil, rice vinegar, and grainy mustard. The kids had peas as they won’t touch salad (yet). The result:
Butter Chicken w/ Side Salad
For the rest of the week I have a few fun things planned – Chicken Drumsticks (I’m going out on a limb with this one – Tom isn’t a chicken fan so twice in one week is pushing it…they better be spectacular!), Sausage & Spinach stuffed Peppers, and for the first time in our house Cauliflower Crust Pizza (don’t laugh…apparently it’s amazing and I’m trying it out at our place this weekend….). If you want updated pictures along the way, you can follow me on Instagram as I post daily there.
Eat on, my friends. It’s a ton of fun creating new things in the kitchen. Admittedly, they aren’t always met with rave reviews from my family. Doesn’t mean I stop trying though. The payback for me is a healthier family and there is no greater gift I can give to them.